I love the way Web works! So, I was on FriendFeed earlier today and I saw through this link there that Paul Jones posted a note on Pownce (on which I am registered but never check) about this article in Raleigh N&O:
An iPod Touch for each student?
A Chapel Hill middle school could become the first in the country to give an iPod to every teacher and student, an experiment that would challenge teachers and administrators to ensure the hand-held devices are used as learning tools, not toys.
It’s still not clear how the iPod Touches would be used at Culbreth Middle School. And school officials know that students may use the iPod Touches more to download the new Jonas Brothers single than to tap the riches of human knowledge. But Principal Susan Wells says that to dismiss the technology as a distraction or a gimmick ignores today’s tech-driven world.
“It’s a world we better figure out, because we can’t ask our students to come into a classroom, put those things aside and sit in a row and think we’re interesting,” she said.
“We’re just not that interesting.”
Mountain View High School in Meridian, Idaho, banned the use of all iPods last year when they suspected students were using them to cheat. Principal Aaron Maybon said some students would record audio of them saying answers to test questions. Then they’d wear a baggy sweater with the iPod concealed underneath and run the ear buds through the sleeve to their wrist. When they needed an answer, they would rest their head on their hand.
“We did have to take a hard-line approach to that,” Maybon said. “You can restrict all kinds of stuff and you can drive yourself nuts trying to police all of it. They [Culbreth] are probably kind of opening themselves up to something.”
Wells said Culbreth teachers are eager to start using iPods in class.
“These teachers say this pilot signals their commitment to our students to meet them where they are, as opposed to where the teachers are comfortable,” Wells said.
“They state their commitment to teach 21st-century skills, because technology is the future for students and teachers.”
Yup, this year, when both of my kids are out of Culbreth school!
A couple of days before, John Dupuis posted (check a long comment thread on FriendFeed) a link to When Professors Create Social Networks for Classes, Some Students See a ‘Creepy Treehouse’
A growing number of professors are experimenting with Facebook, Twitter, and other social-networking tools for their courses, but some students greet an invitation to join professors’ personal networks with horror, seeing faculty members as intruders in their private online spaces. Recognizing that, some professors have coined the term “creepy treehouse” to describe technological innovations by faculty members that make students’ skin crawl.
The ‘Creepy Treehouse’ is defined as, among else:
n. A situation in which an authority figure or an institutional power forces those below him/her into social or quasi-social situations.
With respect to education, Utah Valley University student Tyrel Kelsey describes, “creepy treehouse is what a professor can create by requiring his students to interact with him on a medium other than the class room tools. [E.g.] requiring students to follow him/her on peer networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook.”
So, which is it? Good or bad? I think a lot of people (including many teachers and administrators) are not familiar with the Web sufficiently enough to see it is more than one fuzzy big Scary Place. Thus they get confused when they hear Good News and Bad News one after another – which is it? If you think that Web is a single thing, you will not understand the distinctions between different parts of it and different ways of using it. Thus, either you dedicate yourself to learn more about it, or you pick one side (Good or Bad) and stick to it.
There is a difference between using online techologies in teaching and teachers inviting students to friend them on Facebook. The former is acknowledgment that kids today have a very different worldview and behavior and we need to learn it and use it for education. The latter is personal intrusiveness.
Not using the Web in teaching these days is a criminal act of mis-education. It is preparing the 21st century kids for a 19th century world. FAIL.
Or, as David Warlick says:
I’m pretty sure that it was Alan Kay who said that, “Technology is anything that was invented after you were born.” Does it have to stay that way? At what point does it stop being the technology and become the medium — and become transparent?
This is a barrier for us, this sense that we’re striving to modernize classrooms by using more technology. I still do not think that the kids do this. When they go out and buy the latest game system, they are not buying the latest technology. They’re buying better games. They are buying better experiences.
Folks out there who are making valuable and sustainable uses of technology, do you still think of it as integrating technology? If not, when did that stop? When did it become sustainable?
I guess for me, it happened when I started thinking about my job as entirely about inventing and communicating, rather than helping people integrate technology.